It Wasn’t That Long Ago
Tonight, I was flipping through channels when I landed upon a local documentary about the civil rights movement in Deland, Florida. Just a hop, skip and a jump away, Deland was it’s own little center of the civil rights movement.
Now, I can do simple math. I know that 2007 minus 1960 doesn’t equal very many years ago. Yet, it had a surreal sound when a woman(now turned state legislator) told of how she could buy lunch at a restaurant, but couldn’t sit down to eat it. Or how she and her friends staged peaceful sit-ins at that same lunch counter in 1960, all under the watchful(and respectful) eyes of local law enforcement officers. I’m just one generation removed from those who were on the receiving end of segregation-and sometimes, since it wasn’t during my lifetime, it feels like so long ago. But it wasn’t.
We all have a debt to pay to those early civil rights leaders. Not just the Dr. Kings and Rosa Parks’ of the world, but the unknown leaders who made up the masses that changed the landscape of this country. As someone with a disability, 20 years ago, there’d have been no protection from me being discriminated against just like African Americans in the 50s and 60s. Would have ADA gone through had not the marchers of the civil rights era did what they did? Maybe-but it may have taken a few more generations. No, it wasn’t that long ago, and I’m thankful to the local television station that aired this documentary for bringing it all a little closer to home.